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The Italian Job
DVD disk
10.05.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Italian Job order
F. Gary Gray

Mark Wahlberg
Edward Norton
Charlize Theron


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Betrayed by one of their members, a heist crew takes it upon themselves to take their revenge by relieving him of the loot he stole from them. To do so, they hire a beautiful safe-cracker (Theron) who's been made an orphan by that same bad-guy and saddle up in some nifty-looking little cars to pull it off.
There are two words to describe this movie: "preposterous"! Sure, it's only one word, but THE ITALIAN JOB is so preposterous that you can say it twice and still be right. To say that the plot, action and denouement in this film are far-fetched would be an understatement akin to saying that Charlize Theron is "sorta cute" and if it weren't for a few exciting sequences, it'd all feel more like an extended version of a Mini Cooper commercial. THE ITALIAN JOB is one of those movies in which you have to totally suspend your disbelief if you hope to get anything out of it, especially if you want to watch the last half-hour without asking yourself "what!? how?!? can you do that!?!?"

The story begins in Italy with a crew pulling off a huge gold bullion robbery that's supposed to have them set for a lifetime. Unfortunately, one of them decides he wants to be set for about ten lifetimes and makes off with the whole mutton. Enter the stereotypical assemblage of a smooth-talking handsome guy (played by the handsome, smooth-talking Jason Statham), the computer geek who can do anything (including close up any plot holes) through the use of his laptop, the funny black guy (played by either Mos Def or Def Mos, not sure which of these two is a first name) and the serious, charisma-impaired leader of the crew (Wahlberg). I don't know about you guys, but I'm all Mark Wahlberg-ed out! This guy had better learn either how to play someone other than himself or to make a few more music videos and call it a life because I for one have seen his act and grown tired of it. I shouldn't be too hard on him though because even though I find he rarely adds to movies, he's never a liability either. The only guy in here that I really had fun watching was Edward Norton. Not his best performance but man, what an asshole his character was. Statham was also plenty of fun although here's another guy who really needs to add a bit of diversity to his portfolio.

All in all, THE ITALIAN JOB delivers a few kicks courtesy of some believable action sequences such as the opening boat chase and the heisting activities throughout and even though it completely loses its wheels during the final chapter, you can't really complain about a film in which you get to see Charlize Theron strut her stuff. That lady is so hot she'd make Gandalf horny and she might have saved this film if she'd been the only one in it. Unfortunately, this popcorn film fails to accomplish even the basic blow-up-and-steal mission it sets out to do and while the explosions are big and loud, they're also way too unbelievable to convince even those who thought the GLADIATOR was a documentary.
There's a sprinkling of extras on this disc and while most of them are rather interesting, they're also quite short.

It begins with "Pedal to the Metal: The Making of The Italian Job". This 20-minute long documentary goes through the usual motions of trotting out the director, producer and stars to discuss the origins of the film and its shoot. There's nothing in there that you haven't seen in other similar documentaries on other DVDs. This is followed by a screenwriter's featurette entitled "Putting the Words on the Page". The two screenwriters basically discuss the adaptation of the original The Italian Job and explain how this isn't a "remake" but rather an "adaptation". The funniest part was when they declared that it had taken them over two years to write this screenplay... Two years and this is all you came up with?!?! I sure wish I had your boss!

Next up is "The Italian Job - Driving School" which is the seemingly mandatory featurette found on any car-related film which shows the actors learning how to pull fancy-ass maneuvers in their little cars. It's all right and only lasts about 5 minutes so it won't kill you to watch it. You can learn even more about the cars in the next stop: "The Mighty Minis of The Italian Job" which goes in a bit more depth in the cool little cars that are part and parcel to all the action in this movie. Again, this is a short 5-minute feature which talks a bit about the car itself and how it was used in the film. The next feature is also action-related. "High Octane: Stunts From The Italian Job" chats about some of the cooler stunts, namely the boat chase and the helicopter vs. Mini Cooper chicken bout. There's also a bit about explosions, crashes and such.

Your last tour stop is a set of six deleted scenes. The lame thing is that five of the six are deleted from the same car chase and therefore get pretty damn repetitive. The first one, on the other hand, shows a loser trying to pick Theron up in a bar. That's better... I only wish I was that loser. The Theatrical Trailer is also slapped on for form.
There's plenty of action in here for everyone, but I found much of it to be way to farfetched. The movie looks cool, sounds cool and the actors are decent but unfortunately, the plot and the holes in said plot sway the recommendation towards the side of rainy-night-rental. Make sure you pick up the widescreen edition as well because the full-screen will rid the film of the few assets it does have.
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